A captivating journey into the lives of plants—from the colors they see to the schedules they keep.
…“he recognizes the power of metaphor to “help us make connections that we might not normally make.” In a phone interview, he pressed the point even further, “I don’t really think hardcore scientists think that plants are sentient in the way that mammals are sentient,” he said, “but [plant neurobiologists] are challenging us to redefine for ourselves what we mean by sentient.”
“Plants might not have minds, but the researchers weren’t entirely misdirected in wondering just how deep plants’ abilities run. Over the last decade, researchers have discovered that even primitive green algae can sense changes in light direction and intensity; that a protein on the tip of Arabodopsis root hairs tells the root which direction to grow; that a pea plant in drought conditions can communicate its stress to its soilmates, and warn them to prepare for hard times. It has again become tempting to dangle the possibility: Does this mean, you know, plants could be conscious? The question may be revealing, but not for the reasons one might think. Today, a glance back at the long, strange inquiry into plant consciousness finds that it might not explain much about plants, but it can tell us a lot about what’s going in the world outside the flowerpot.”